At the College Football Roundtable, we ask members of the college football coverage staff for their opinions about a topic in the sport.
This week's question: Are you sure there be a four-team playoff starting in 2014? If so, what will be the makeup of the field?
Mike Huguenin's answer: Larry Scott's recent proclamation about a plus-one system notwithstanding, I think a four-team playoff will be in place in 2014. The Big 12 and SEC are the leagues that want the four "best" teams to make up the field; the other leagues prefer a champs-only format. I'm going to couch my bet here and say it's hard to pick the format that will be used until we know if there will be a selection committee or some type of ranking system (i.e., the BCS rankings). If you have a selection committee, why limit the field to conference champs? Would a committee really be needed to pick four teams from among the conference champs? If there is a selection committee, why not make them actually work and let them pick the four best teams? If there is some sort of ranking system, I can see it being a "champs-only" format, with the caveat being that each of the champs has to meet a certain ranking criteria (like being in the top six or top eight or whatever). I also think the first playoff "contract" will be a relatively short one, which would enable any mistakes made in the format of the system to be corrected relatively quickly.
Steve Megargee's answer: I think a four-team playoff is inevitable, and I'm pretty confident it will include the top four teams in some sort of ranking system rather than being restricted to conference champions. While I know plenty of people in power recommend a format that would reward only the conference champions, I think there will be too much of a public outcry to make sure the four best teams are in the playoff, whether or not they won their conference title. The question is how to determine exactly which teams are the four best in the country. I'm assuming there will be some sort of format similar to the current BCS standings that combine human polls or a selection committee with a computer ranking system.
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